Skatalites drummer Lloyd Knibb died on May 12 in Jamaica, around friends and family. He was 80 years old. According to his wife, Enid, he succumbed to liver cancer.
Knibb was born on March 8, 1931, in Jamaica. He's credited with inventing the ska beat at Coxsone Dodd's Studio One. He played his last show in Peru about a month ago.
In addition to the Skatalites, he played for Tommy McCook & the Supersonics. Knibb started out playing in jazz bands in the 1940s, starting with the Val Bennett band and developing technical skills with Eric Dean's group, playing popular dances of the day (rumba, cha cha) as well as Glen Miller songs.
In a 1998 interview with Carter Van Pelt and Dan Batman, Knibb explained how it all began: "Yeah, man, that's where it started, rhythm and blues. And then the music change. Coxsone call me in the studio one day and say, 'Lloydie, I wan change the beat, you know? Find a beat.' All right, I go inna the studio, and I start some different, different beat. "
According to the Associated Press, "Knibb had been receiving treatment in the U.S. but returned to Jamaica this week. Knibb's manager, Ken Stewart, wrote on Facebook on Wednesday that he was accompanying Knibb on the trip back to the Caribbean island. 'I can only hope we make it back so he can enjoy his family and friends and see his homeland one more time,' he wrote."
Ska Parade founder Tazy Phyllipz wrote on Knibb's Facebook page, "RIP Lloyd Knibb, Order of Distinction. You will be missed! Much respect!"
The Skatalites were scheduled to perform at the Ink-N-Iron Festival in Long Beach in June. From a May 12 Heard Mentality blog post.
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Not only that, but you will also have entertained one of the most hilarious punk bands to come out of Orange County! From a May 12 post.
This column appeared in print as "RIP, Lloyd Knibb of the Skatalites."